For those of you who loved Malevolence, Stevan Mena’s 2004 slasher film, you will love its gory prequel, Bereavement. Even if you haven’t seen Malevolence and just love horror films, you should see this film. It stands on its own as a visually stunning film and has some pretty believable characters as well.
In this film we focus on two different stories: part of the story focuses on Allison (Alexandra Daddario), a 17 year-old girl who has come to live with her uncle Jonathan (Michael Biehn) after the untimely death of her parents. On her daily run Allison passes a a seemingly abandoned home that happens to be inhabited by young Martin Bristol, a boy with a disease that renders him unable to feel physical pain, and his demented captor, Graham Sutter, a sadistic maniac who takes his orders from a mounted deer skull.
The two stories don’t cross paths until the third act. Until that time we follow Allison, who is full of teenage angst. While on another one of her runs, (She runs a lot in this movie) she comes upon William (Nolan Gerard Funk), a muscle car driving heart throb that lives in the trailer park with his paraplegic father. Obviously now we need a side story where Jonathan doesn’t approve of his niece, seeing this “lowlife,” so he does everything to try and stop their love from blossoming.
One night Allison doesn’t come home from her run and Jonathan believes it is because she has spent the night with William. He is wrong. Allison saw little Martin in the abandoned house and decided it was too dangerous for a little boy and it was her duty to get him out of there. (Very selfless for a 17 year old girl) She is taken captive and now it is time for Michael Biehn to save the day or die trying.
I must say for a relatively low-budget film, shooting on 35mm was a bold choice, but it pays off. The cinematography of Marco Cappetta is stunning. The vibrant color and contrast really lends itself to creating the feel of an 80’s horror movie. Along with the 80’s feel, the film builds tension, that at times is reminiscent of a Polanski film.
It is surprising Alexandea Daddario chose to be in this violent horror film with her recent success in Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. It was a bold move, but she pulls off the troubled heroine very well in this film. In fact, all the performances are more than satisfactory.
I only have two real complaints with the film. My first complaint is that there are times when the film drags and I found myself saying “Let’s go, kill someone already!” The other complaint is that the plot was somewhat predictable and at times felt very contrived. At least Mena had the guts to make something original in a world where all we get are remakes. For casual or true horror films, this flick is worth checking out.